Even with Americans Stuck at Home, Weather Forecasts are an Integral Part of Life

By Sean Potter.

Americans have an insatiable appetite for weather, and the unusual winter blast expected across parts of the East this weekend — along with a continued heat wave out West — will only add to the feeding frenzy for forecasts. Americans are paying attention to the weather, and not just as a way to escape news of the covid-19 pandemic. A 2018 study by Pew Research Center showed that 70 percent of U.S. adults say weather information is important to their daily lives — more so than any other local news topic.

The ease of accessing weather forecasts today — including through smartphone apps or by engaging Alexa or Siri — has made it increasingly possible to assume that forecasts will always be there when we need them and, perhaps, always have been. But weather forecasts rooted in scientific methods, and a federally funded service to provide them, are relatively new in the larger scheme of scientific endeavors and the human experience.

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